Revolution and Class Conflict in North China, 1939-1940: The Sino-Japanese War and the Origins of the People's Republic of China

David S G Goodman, Professor of Chinese Politics, University of Sydney

Joint WREAC and Worldwide Universities Network Seminar

19.May.2009 16.00 - 17.30
Room G.03, 20 Cromer Terrace - Leeds


The War of Resistance to Japan (1937-1945) was a crucial step in the Chinese Communist Party's rise to power in 1949. The Chinese Communist Party is usually portrayed as having at that time pursued moderate, inclusive, and mobilisatory tactics, particularly in its North China base areas, to build a movement for national salvation from the bottom up. During 1939-1940 the Taihang Base Area was considerably more revolutionary and driven by class conflict. The Chinese Communist Party seized power locally from its allies, engaged in land reform and wealth redistribution, and attempted to proletarianise itself. Understanding these phenomena and their consequences provides new perspectives on the Chinese Communist Party's eventual success.

David S G Goodman

David S G Goodman is Professor of Chinese Politics at the University of Sydney, where he is also Director of the Institute of Social Sciences. He was educated at the University of Manchester (Politics and Modern History) Peking University (Economics) and the London School of Oriental and African Studies (Chinese and Chinese Politics.) His research has concentrated on China's provincial politics; the history of the Chinese Communist Party; and social and political change in China since 1900, especially at the local level. He is currently undertaking research on German colonial adventurers in China 1870-1937 (with Dr Yixu Lu); and on the formation of local elites in contemporary China (with Dr Beatriz Carrillo and Dr Minglu Chen.) His most recent publication is The New Rich in China: Future rulers, present lives (2008).